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One of the loading screen tips says:

The Pope can grant powerful boons to good Catholics.

What exactly does that mean? What can the Pope do to help me, if I'm a good Catholic?

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The pope can let you:

  1. Divorce your wife,
  2. Get someone excommunicated, and
  3. Grant "permission" to invade another Christian country (that's larger than yours) and take its top-level title.

The first boon is neat if you hate your wife (Didn't notice her inheritable hunchback, harelip, and stutter before you married her? She's trying to kill you?), but don't have sufficient intrigue, gold, and/or stomach for a risky venture.

Excommunicating your enemies is fun, because it allows you to do three things: kill them without repercussions if they're your prisoner, arrest them without being accused of tyranny, and it's an automatic Casus Belli - a legal excuse to start a war and take their stuff. Other Christians generally don't mind what happens to an excommunicated Christian.

Invading a (larger!) country lets you take its top-level title: Duke, King, Emperor, etc. So rather than nickel-and-dimeing a country, repeatedly forging claims and going to war to snip off a county here and a duchy there, you can simply invade that country and take the crown. The main trouble is that the country must be larger than yours; you may request an invasion of the Holy Roman Empire, but don't expect to win. Try to find someone that's just a little larger than your size. One of the game's traditional starts, taking on the persona of the Duke of Normandy, is exactly this: the Pope already gave you permission to invade England.

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“a legal excuse to start a war and take their stuff” What do you mean by “stuff”? Counties and other titles? Because AFAIK, war started with the excommunication CB never results in gained titles, unless you're heir of the excommunicated ruler. – svick Jun 22 '13 at 16:45
Excommuication CB doesn't produce titles @svick, its the invasion CB that does. More importantly paul didn't mention the papal ability to declare crusades, which also lead to people recieving titles. – Lawton Jul 9 '13 at 17:10
@Lawton But any Catholic can benefit from a crusade, this question is specifically about good Catholics. – svick Jul 9 '13 at 18:10
@svick I might be wrong, but I believe the pope is more likely to grant you the new crusader state if you have a positive relationship (instead of keeping it for the papacy). I might be getting that confused with another game though. – Lawton Jul 9 '13 at 19:11
"Other Christians generally don't mind what happens to an excommunicated Christian" keep in mind this is not exactly true. If you are not Catholic and declare an Holy War against an excommunicated Catholic, other Catholics will help him anyway! – o0'. Jan 29 '15 at 16:07

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